Any Chance Of Rehabilitation?


Senior Member
I had a luthier attempt to rehydrate and rehabilitate this Martin D-16RGT and it's nowhere near correct. It clearly seems to be caving in upon itself.

There's a 4/64" deflection at the soundhole and straightedge deadens out at 2.5/64" below the bass of the saddle. There is a 3/4" reflection on the back so there's definitely hope.



The truss rod specs are on par but the action is far too high for my liking (6/64" treble to bass). Positive note is there is ZERO lifiting from the bridge. Strings are Elixir 12-56 and I'm not sure if switching to a lighter string would affect this.

Any hope to place in 6/64-4/64 spec with proper deflection or this this a really nice beater/campfire guitar?
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What did the luthier try to do? Assuming rehydrate. How long did he try. I would just keep trying to add moisture, may just take more time.

Laurent Brondel

Silver Supporting Member
What you see is the typical plastic deformation that happens with some Martin guitars: it folds a bit at the soundhole and caves in in front of the bridge (which generates the top "belly" behind the bridge). On a newer guitar like this it denotes a top that is too soft, but it is common for virtually all vintage Martins.
Given the change in geometry your guitar likely needs a neck reset to be back to specs and to a playable action. It may also need a fretboard leveling, thus a refret.
If you are the original owner it should be covered by Martin's warranty, regardless I would contact them and explain the issue.

TJ's bridge tool will not solve that issue, I do not see deformation of the top under the bridge.
Excessive dryness would have the top cave "in", I do not see that either although it would be best to check the top level with the straightedge laterally, from side to side on the top's lower bout.


Senior Member
Update: Stuck a couple damp sponges in plastic baggies with hole poked in it. Put the pair of em in the body and plugged the body with a feedback plug. Redampened the sponges daily. Two weeks later, here's what we got:




In this last photo, you can see the undulations of the top against the shadow of the strings.

I had to shave 1/64" off the saddle and crank the truss rod as far as it would go (comfortably) and we seem to be back in business...

Reckon further hydration is necessary or is the top so wacked, this is as good as it'll get?
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